Despite the ending of government Covid-19 restrictions this week, businesses are still failing to maintain a healthy indoor office climate and air quality, says one specialist in the industry.
William Cowell de Gruchy, CEO of smart buildings platform Infogrid, said: “While the government ending legal restrictions and free Covid testing heralds the start of ‘living with Covid’, for businesses this is a transfer of a responsibility to employers to minimise the risks of Covid to their employees and their bottom lines.
“While its effects are more manageable, the risk of large portions of the workforce needing to take time off concurrently will still be present. It will now be down to individuals and employers to set clear boundaries and rules which will reduce the impact Covid can still have on health in the workplace long-term.
“Despite the events of the past two years, many businesses are yet to effectively monitor and maintain healthy indoor office climate and air quality. Not only can this significantly boost the wellbeing and productivity of employees and other stakeholders but monitoring and controlling factors such as CO2 levels, temperature and humidity can reduce the risk of virus transmission as well.
“As increasing numbers of employees return to the office, proper indoor climate management should be a material consideration for businesses. Not only does it have a direct impact on the health of current employees, but it is also crucial to attracting future talent, many of which have come to view the office as an active choice rather than a necessary evil.”
Graeme Fox, head of technical at trade association, Building Engineering Services Association (BESA), told Facilitate: "I think a lot of companies looked to change the way they worked during the pandemic especially after the lockdowns. A lot of companies looked at how these systems worked in office environments. But that was also taking into account catering for a reduced capacity. I think from that aspect a lot of companies weren't doing enough but building managers are more aware of the issue."
He said most organisations had not been investing their offices over the last few years because they were more focused on "staying in business".
However, Fox added that "it is fair to say that a lot of investment is needed and will get done" but "when you're in survival mode you're not going to make those investment decisions".
Fox also said more companies had been using Indoor Air Quality Monitors which "in itself is a huge step forward because it helps identify problems" so long-term "investment is more likely" to follow.
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